February 2017 media hits

Public Citizen is mentioned, or its experts quoted, every day in print and broadcast media around the world. Below are links to some of the recent stories in which we have appeared.

OMB Concludes Review of Fiduciary Rule Delay Request

2/28/2017
Morning Consult: OMB Concludes Review of Fiduciary Rule Delay Request by Tara Jeffries - “Given the timeframe here, it’s hard for me to believe that this is a real, credible and plausible economic analysis,” Amit Narang said, adding that while he remains cautious about the rule’s prospects under a White House bent on regulatory rollbacks, a string of recent court victories offer some hope of preserving the rule.

Icahn's $126 Million Gain on Biofuel Deal Prompts Criticism

2/28/2017
Bloomberg: Icahn's $126 Million Gain on Biofuel Deal Prompts Criticism by Jennifer A Dlouhy, Ari Natter, & Bill Allison - "This is the purest definition of a conflict of interest that you can get," said Tyson Slocum, a director at Washington-based watchdog Public Citizen. "It is clear that Icahn has played a role in influencing aspects of administration policy that have a direct financial impact on Icahn’s business at CVR."

Push to Enact Civil Justice Bills Follows Industry Playbook

2/28/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Push to Enact Civil Justice Bills Follows Industry Playbook by Bruce Kaufman - Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress watch, said opponents also plan to roll out the time-tested strategy of federal preemption to win over wavering Democrats and make in-roads with Republicans concerned about attacks on federalism.

Trump to Weigh Litigation Changes Long Coveted by Business

2/27/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Trump to Weigh Litigation Changes Long Coveted by Business by Bruce Kaufman - The prospects for enactment are “scarily real,” Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, an opponent of the bills, told Bloomberg BNA.

A Wells Fargo Breakup Proposal Will Be on Bank’s Proxy

2/27/2017
Wall Street Journal: A Wells Fargo Breakup Proposal Will Be on Bank’s Proxy by Emily Glazer - The break-up proposal was submitted by Bartlett Naylor, a shareholder activist and financial-policy advocate at the liberal lobbying group Public Citizen.

Regulatory watchdogs concerned about Trump's budget cuts

2/27/2017
The Hill: Regulatory watchdogs concerned about Trump's budget cuts by Tim Devaney - Lisa Gilbert, a director at Public Citizen, called the budget a “corporate robber baron wish list.”

Jesse Jackson Jr.'s 6-figure government payout under scrutiny

2/25/2017
Washington Examiner: Jesse Jackson Jr.'s 6-figure government payout under scrutiny by Kyle Feldscher - "I can't imagine in any way that his bipolar disorder would have been caused in any way by his congressional duties," Craig Holman said. "It's really troubling to see someone who goes to prison for corruption coming out of prison (and collecting that money)."

CEOs have productive day in Washington

2/24/2017
CNN: CEOs have productive day in Washington by Thomas Frank - "This is a classic example of the type of influence that big money buys," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, which advocates against money in politics. "This is the type of swamp that I think a lot of Trump supporters wanted to see drained."

‘Frivolous’ Litigation Targeted in Bill Headed to House Floor(1)

2/23/2017
Bloomberg BNA: ‘Frivolous’ Litigation Targeted in Bill Headed to House Floor(1) by Bruce Kaufman - She urged the full House and Senate to pass the legislation swiftly. Many consumer and environmental groups oppose the legislation, including Public Citizen, the Alliance for Justice, Consumers Union and People for the American Way.

What is Coal’s Future in the Grand Scheme of Energy Production?

2/23/2017
Houston Public Media: What is Coal’s Future in the Grand Scheme of Energy Production? by Abner Fletcher - The organization Public Citizen recently released a report on two Texas coal plants (Monticello and Big Brown) on the verge of retirement and whether it would have any effect on the state’s energy grid. According to the report, it won’t, and that raises questions about the future of coal and its use as an energy resource.

Controversial Pro-Business Group Targets Dems

2/23/2017
NPR: Controversial Pro-Business Group Targets Dems by Will Evans - And the group itself is no stranger to complaints. Last year, the liberal group Public Citizen called on the Internal Revenue Service to revoke AJS's tax status.

Citizens Petition Challenges FDA’s Off-Label Rule

2/22/2017
Policy and Medicine: Citizens Petition Challenges FDA’s Off-Label Rule by Thomas Sullivan - Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 13 that he doesn’t think the FDA violated the APA in making the change in the final rule. “We don’t think there’s anything unique there that’s inconsistent with the existing regulation or what was proposed in 2015,” Carome said.

Giancarlo’s CFTC May Give Fintech Innovators Their Own Sandbox

2/22/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Giancarlo’s CFTC May Give Fintech Innovators Their Own Sandbox by Richard Hill - Not everyone agrees that a stand-back approach is the way to go. “I think there’s a lot of drawback with a hands-off, let-the-industry-take-the-lead approach,” said Tyson Slocum, a policy analyst at consumer-oriented Public Citizen. For one thing, the interests of exchanges and major market participants, such as banks, which are taking the lead in developing fintech tools, don’t necessarily align with the public interest, he said.

Why President Trump is already fundraising for his 2020 reelection campaign

2/22/2017
Vox: Why President Trump is already fundraising for his 2020 reelection campaign by Jeff Stein - President George W. Bush was criticized for starting his reelection fundraising only 12 months before the 2004 election, according to Craig Holman, legal counsel at the campaign finance watchdog Public Citizen.

Interactive: Can You Spot the Newest Advertising Tricks?

2/21/2017
NBC: Interactive: Can You Spot the Newest Advertising Tricks? by Jenna Susko & Amy Corral - Kristen Strater of the Washington D.C. consumer watchdog group Public Citizen says the Federal Trade Commission should be monitoring instances of product integration to guarantee that viewers can easily identify an advertisement when they see one.

Bexar County Says No To High-Level Nuclear Waste Route

2/21/2017
Texas Public Radio: Bexar County Says No To High-Level Nuclear Waste Route by Steve Short - Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, the former director of Public Citizen Texas, addressed Bexar County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

How Trump could make the trade deficit look worse

2/21/2017
CNN Money: How Trump could make the trade deficit look worse by Patrick Gillespie - "The current method for reporting bilateral trade flows significantly distorts trade balances to dramatically and deceptively reduce U.S. trade deficits," says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, a nonprofit in Washington.

Republicans make killing consumer protections a top priority

2/21/2017
Los Angeles Times: Republicans make killing consumer protections a top priority by David Lazarus - A 2007 study by Public Citizen found that over a four-year period, arbitrators ruled in favor of banks and credit card companies 94% of the time in disputes with California consumers.

Polluting Pruitt, After Record Opposition, Takes Over EPA

2/21/2017
NRDC: Polluting Pruitt, After Record Opposition, Takes Over EPA by Pete Altman - The list of opposing groups doesn’t end there. Pruitt’s confirmation was also opposed by the Truman National Security Project, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, People’s Action, Leading LGBT Advocates, and Public Citizen…

Senators demand answers over skyrocketing prices for overdose drug

2/21/2017
Cox Media: Senators demand answers over skyrocketing prices for overdose drug by Justin Gray - “Their action is endangering people's lives at a time when we are suffering a national epidemic,” said Peter Maybarduk of consumer group Public Citizen

Homeopathic remedies harmed hundreds of babies, families say, as FDA investigated for years

2/21/2017
Stat News: Homeopathic remedies harmed hundreds of babies, families say, as FDA investigated for years by Sheila Kaplan - “The FDA could bring the hammer down on them,” said Sarah Sorscher, an attorney for the nonprofit Public Citizen Health Research Group. “But it doesn’t. At the point where you have infants being hospitalized and deaths reported, it’s simply not acceptable for the agency to delay in taking action.”

"For-Profit President": A Look at How Trump Is Pushing Wholesale Corporate Takeover of the Gov't

2/20/2017
Democracy Now!: "For-Profit President": A Look at How Trump Is Pushing Wholesale Corporate Takeover of the Gov't - Robert Weissman on Trump’s first 30 days.

Bill would create 'Amber Alerts' for chemical emergencies

2/20/2017
Houston Chronicle: Bill would create 'Amber Alerts' for chemical emergencies by Mark Collette - Those are deeper problems this bill can't address. But "this is a good step in situations where there is a known imminent threat," said Stephanie Thomas, an organizer for Public Citizen who called for better alerts last year after a chemical warehouse fire in Spring Branch.

Trump’s ‘Winter White House’: A Peek at the Exclusive Members’ List at Mar-a-Lago

2/18/2017
New York Times: Trump’s ‘Winter White House’: A Peek at the Exclusive Members’ List at Mar-a-Lago by Nicholas Confessore, Maggie Haberman and Eric Lipton - “No one needs to have a long sit-down with Donald Trump,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “If you can whisper in his ear for 40 seconds, that can be decisive on your policy.”

Trump's regulatory freeze in full force

2/17/2017
The Hill: Trump's regulatory freeze in full force by Lydia Wheeler - “It’s part of a pattern of taking on the rulemaking process in any way they can,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division.

Wells Fargo Said to Oppose Nuns on Review Resolution

2/16/2017
Reuters: Wells Fargo Said to Oppose Nuns on Review Resolution by Ross Kerber - In one case the investor Bart Naylor, who works for consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said the bank has asked permission from U.S. securities regulators to omit his resolution calling for it to study divestitures or a break-up.

Two-for-one regs purge? Don’t bet on it

2/16/2017
Business Management: Two-for-one regs purge? Don’t bet on it by The HR Specialists - Advocacy group Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America union filed one such lawsuit in early February in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

`Soft Money’ Case a Test for Trump, Supreme Court

2/16/2017
Bloomberg BNA: `Soft Money’ Case a Test for Trump, Supreme Court by Kenneth P. Doyle - In the filing, three nonprofit organizations supporting strong rules, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and the Campaign Legal Center, urged the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of BCRA’s contribution limits to state and local parties used for federal electioneering purposes.

Trump's new labor pick must restore trust lost from America's workers

2/16/2017
The Hill: Trump's new labor pick must restore trust lost from America's workers by Emily Gardner - Emily A. Gardner is an attorney and the worker health and safety advocate in the Congress Watch division of Public Citizen, an advocacy group based in Washington.

Trump’s Contempt for Trade Deals Spurs Anxiety: What’s next?

2/16/2017
Associated Press: Trump’s Contempt for Trade Deals Spurs Anxiety: What’s next? by Paul Wiseman - "NAFTA is packed with incentives to offshore jobs," says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, which opposes many existing pacts. "NAFTA must be replaced - not tweaked - to actually deliver better outcomes for working people."

Full Appeals Court Will Rehear Case on Constitutionality of CFPB Structure

2/16/2017
Morning Consult: Full Appeals Court Will Rehear Case on Constitutionality of CFPB Structure by Tara Jeffries - Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement that the ruling “gives hope that the earlier flawed decision will be reversed.”

Icahn Regulatory Role Risks Conflict: Watchdogs, Democrats

2/15/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Icahn Regulatory Role Risks Conflict: Watchdogs, Democrats by Brian Dabbs - “Actions that this government takes including those involving Carl Icahn should be scrutinized closely, and they shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt that there is no conflict of interest,” Amit Narang, a regulatory specialist at Public Citizen, told Bloomberg BNA. “It could be a real conflict if Mr. Icahn is trying to insulate himself by not officially being a member of the administration. That’s a loophole that needs to be addressed and closed.”

Debate simmers over medical resident work hours

2/15/2017
Safety + Health: Debate simmers over medical resident work hours by Staff - “Medical residents are dedicated and hardworking but not superhuman, and, when sleep-deprived, put themselves, their patients and others in harm’s way,” Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said in a press release. “The ACGME board must reject this proposal in the interest of both resident and patient safety.”

Big Pharma Objects to New Hurdles for Off-Label Drug, Device Promotion

2/15/2017
Bloomberg BNA: Big Pharma Objects to New Hurdles for Off-Label Drug, Device Promotion by Bronwyn Mixte - Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 13 that he doesn’t think the FDA violated the APA in making the change in the final rule. “We don’t think there’s anything unique there that’s inconsistent with the existing regulation or what was proposed in 2015,” Carome said.

McConnell on Trump: 'I like what he’s doing’

2/15/2017
The Hill: McConnell on Trump: 'I like what he’s doing’ by Mark Hensch - The February lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Communications Workers of America and Public Citizen now seeks to halt the implementation of Trump’s order.

Should medical residents’ work hours be increased?

2/14/2017
Medical Economics: Should medical residents’ work hours be increased? by Jeanette Hurt - Sammy Almashat, MD, MPH, researcher and preventative medicine physician at Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, says the idea of no restrictions scares the public, too.

Ethics office says Trump adviser Conway likely broke federal rules

2/14/2017
Washington Post: Ethics office says Trump adviser Conway likely broke federal rules by Matea Gold - “Forgive us if we don’t hold our breath,” said Robert Weissman, president of the nonprofit Public Citizen.

Groups urge Congress not to pull back worker safety regulations

2/14/2017
Safety + Health: Groups urge Congress not to pull back worker safety regulations by Staff - The AFL-CIO, Center for Progressive Reform, National Council of La Raza and Public Citizen are among the organizations that signed the letter. For updates on CRA resolutions, visit http://RulesatRisk.org.

Conway Should Be Investigated For Plugging Ivanka Trump Products, Ethics Agency Says

2/14/2017
NPR: Conway Should Be Investigated For Plugging Ivanka Trump Products, Ethics Agency Says by Jim Zarroli - Robert Weissman, president of the liberal group Public Citizen, praised Shaub for seeking disciplinary action against Conway. "We can only hope that the Trump White House responds positively to the call to discipline Kellyanne Conway for her transgressions — statements that never would have been made had she subjected herself to the most elementary standards. But forgive us if we don't hold our breath. Conway's promotion of Ivanka's products followed the example of President Trump and was intended to curry favor with the president (apparently successfully)."

Donald Trump’s Florida estate stirs protests, spurs ethics debate

2/13/2017
Associated Press: Donald Trump’s Florida estate stirs protests, spurs ethics debate by Darlene Superville and Jill Colvin - Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said Trump and Abe don’t need to meet at Trump’s commercial property, where the membership fee recently was doubled to $200,000.

Puzder Is Another of Trump’s Broken Promises

2/13/2017
The Independent: Puzder Is Another of Trump’s Broken Promises - op-ed by Emily Gardner

Trump’s Sons Insist “Papa Bear” Is Conflict-of-Interest Proof

2/13/2017
Vanity Fair: Trump’s Sons Insist “Papa Bear” Is Conflict-of-Interest Proof by Bess Levin - “There should be no intermingling of White House and business operations,” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, told The New York Times. “There should be no intermingling of [Donald Trump’s] private moneys with public affairs.”

Why Trump’s order to cut government regulation is even bolder than it seems

2/13/2017
Washington Post: Why Trump’s order to cut government regulation is even bolder than it seems by Juliet Eilperin - Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, noted that the guidance allows agencies to use the estimated savings of rules repealed by the Congressional Review Act to offset the cost of new regulations.

An international crisis didn’t stop Trump from hobnobbing with Mar-a-Lago guests “who paid me a lot of money”

2/13/2017
Salon: An international crisis didn’t stop Trump from hobnobbing with Mar-a-Lago guests “who paid me a lot of money” by Matthew Rozsa - “Hosting a foreign leader at the president’s business resort creates impossible sets of conflicts,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, to the Associated Press. “If the president hadn’t offered to pay, the U.S. government would be paying Donald Trump’s business for the purpose of hosting the Japanese leader.”

Trump’s watered-down ethics rules let a lobbyist help run agency he lobbied

2/12/2017
ProPublica: Trump’s watered-down ethics rules let a lobbyist help run agency he lobbied by Justin Elliott - “A lobbyist like Burr may de-register on Monday and enter the Trump Administration on Tuesday,” said Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen. “The very same agency Burr has been lobbying as a hired gun is now Burr’s to help run. This is a grave problem for the public because the agency may well represent the special interest rather than the public interest."

Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Andrew Puzder Owed Millions To UBS As Bank Seeks Waiver From Sanction

2/12/2017
International Business Times: Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Andrew Puzder Owed Millions To UBS As Bank Seeks Waiver From Sanction by David Sirota - “The Labor nominee's UBS holdings raise a trove of troubling questions of conflict,” said Bart Naylor of the watchdog group Public Citizen, which has criticized the use of waivers from federal sanctions. “How can he referee its critical waiver from pension fund management penalties? Why does he omit UBS from his ethics statement [when] his investments are many?"

Andrews citizens can voice their opinion on high-level nuclear fuel storage this week

2/12/2017
NBC: Andrews citizens can voice their opinion on high-level nuclear fuel storage this week by Jolina Okazaki - "We think it's a very bad idea to store this radioactive waste out in West Texas," said Director Tom Smith of Public Citizen. "It's dangerous stuff it comes from the inside of the reactor core. It's so dangerous that exposure to an unshielded rod for 90 seconds could result in death or cancer."

Trump Sons Forge Ahead, Without Father Expanding and Navigating Concepts

2/12/2017
The New York Times: Trump Sons Forge Ahead, Without Father Expanding and Navigating Concepts by Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig - “There should be no intermingling of White House and business operations,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, who is troubled whether the president hosts the Japanese prime minister for free- at a commercial operation – or charges him, which would mean a foreign government official is paying Mr. Trump’s family. “There should be no intermingling of his private moneys with public affairs."

Trump has been sued more than 60 times since becoming president: A partial survey

2/11/2017
Los Angeles Times: Trump has been sued more than 60 times since becoming president: A partial survey by Matt Pearce - Public Citizen, Inc. et al vs. Trump et al: Watchdog groups sued to block Trump’s executive order requiring that federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new rule they issue.

Budget office keeps comments on lobbyist policy under wraps

2/10/2017
TheHill.com: Budget office keeps comments on lobbyist policy under wraps by Kevin Bogardus - The Office of Management and Budget has not released public comments on its guidance banning lobbyists from federal advisory boards, frustrating public interest groups who find the nondisclosure out of sync with President Obama's transparency agenda.

Debate held on bringing high-level radioactive waste to west Texas

2/10/2017
CBS 7 Texas: Debate held on bringing high-level radioactive waste to west Texas - interview with Tom “Smitty” Smith

Ethics Review Sought After Trump Adviser Touts Ivanka Trump Products

2/10/2017
Reuters: Ethics Review Sought After Trump Adviser Touts Ivanka Trump Products by Susan Heavey - The non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen have both filed complaints with the OGE and the White House Counsel's Office

Advocacy Groups Go to Court to Thwart Trump’s Bid to Undo Regulations

2/9/2017
Reuters: Advocacy Groups Go to Court to Thwart Trump’s Bid to Undo Regulations by Joseph Ax, Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey - The National Resources Defense Council, Communications Workers of America, and Public Citizen said in their lawsuit that the Jan. 30 order would harm the public.

Kellyanne Conway may have broken ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s business

2/9/2017
The Blaze: Kellyanne Conway may have broken ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s business by Kaitlyn Schallhorn - And Robert Weissman, president of the liberal Public Citizen advocacy group, said Thursday: “Anyone harboring illusions that there was some separation between the Trump administration and the Trump family businesses has had their fantasy shattered. Kellyanne Conway’s self-proclaimed advertisement for the Ivanka Trump fashion line demonstrates again what anyone with common sense already knew: President Trump and the Trump administration will use the government apparatus to advance the interests of the family businesses.

Nordstrom vs. Trump

2/9/2017
Politico: Nordstrom vs. Trump by Ben White and Mary Lee - 2-FOR-1 ORDER DRAWS LAWSUIT — Trump’s executive order requiring agencies to repeal two regulations for each new regulation drew a lawsuit from Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America. See it here.

White House says Conway has been ‘counseled’ after touting Ivanka Trump’s products

2/9/2017
The Washington Post: White House says Conway has been ‘counseled’ after touting Ivanka Trump’s products by Drew Harwell, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman - Trump critics quickly seized on the endorsement. Robert Weissman, president of liberal advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement, “Conway’s self-proclaimed advertisement for the Ivanka Trump fashion line demonstrates again what anyone with common sense already knew: President Trump and the Trump administration will use the government apparatus to advance the interests of the family businesses.”

Conway tout of Ivanka Trump goods seen breaking ethics rule

2/9/2017
Bloomberg: Conway tout of Ivanka Trump goods seen breaking ethics rule by Bill Allison and Lindsey Rupp - Robert Weissman, president of progressive activist group Public Citizen, said Conway's remarks demonstrate that the Trump administration "will use the government apparatus to advance the interests of the family businesses."

In Plugging Ivanka Trump Products On National Television, Did Kellyanne Conway Break A Federal Law?

2/9/2017
Forbes: In Plugging Ivanka Trump Products On National Television, Did Kellyanne Conway Break A Federal Law? by Maggie McGrath - Public Citizen, a left-leaning and non-profit consumer advocacy group, swiftly called for the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate Conway's remarks. “Anyone harboring illusions that there was some separation between the Trump administration and the Trump family businesses has had their fantasy shattered,” Robert Weissman, Public Citizen president, said in a statement Thursday.

Trump adviser Conway draws ethics complaints for touting Ivanka Trump products

2/9/2017
Reuters: Trump adviser Conway draws ethics complaints for touting Ivanka Trump products by Susan Heavey - The non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen filed complaints with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and the White House Counsel's Office.

Watchdogs urge Congress to prohibit secret staff work

2/9/2017
Politico: Watchdogs urge Congress to prohibit secret staff work by Kyle Cheney - The letter was signed by, among others, President Barack Obama’s ethics czar, Norm Eisen; the Sunlight Foundation; Common Cause; and Public Citizen. The groups suggested several tweaks to rules that govern the way congressional aides interact with presidential transition teams. Existing guidance, they argue, is agnostic on the kind of nondisclosure agreements that the Trump transition employed.

Public Interest Groups Sue to Overturn Trump Regulatory Order

2/9/2017
Bloomberg: Public Interest Groups Sue to Overturn Trump Regulatory Order by Cheryl Bolen - The lawsuit was filed by Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communication Workers of America in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit charges that the executive order exceeds Trump’s constitutional authority, violates his duty under the Take Care clause of the U.S. Constitution, and directs federal agencies to engage in unlawful actions that will harm countless Americans, including plaintiffs’ members.

GOP pol: Kellyanne Conway ‘wrong’ to pitch Ivanka Trump fashions

2/9/2017
Associated Press: GOP pol: Kellyanne Conway ‘wrong’ to pitch Ivanka Trump fashions by Bernard Condon and Julie Bykowicz - “Conway’s action reflects an ongoing careless disregard of the conflicts of interest laws and regulations by some members of the Trump family and Trump administration,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen.

Donald Trump’s Feud With Nordstrom Sparks Warnings From Ethics Experts

2/9/2017
NBC News: Donald Trump’s Feud With Nordstrom Sparks Warnings From Ethics Experts by Nejy Sarlin - The comments appeared to violate federal ethics rules preventing federal employees from using their offices to endorse products or services. CREW and Public Citizen, another nonpartisan group, fired off letters to the Office of Government Ethics and the White House counsel demanding an investigation.

Key lawmakers seek probe of Kellyanne Conway's 'go buy Ivanka's stuff' message

2/9/2017
USA Today: Key lawmakers seek probe of Kellyanne Conway's 'go buy Ivanka's stuff' message by Fredreka Schouten - “Anyone harboring illusions that there was some separation between the Trump administration and the Trump family businesses has had their fantasy shattered,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, one of the groups that filed a complaint Thursday.

Is the Trump White House Turning into QVC?

2/9/2017
Vice: Is the Trump White House Turning into QVC? by David Dayen - In other words, using public office for private gain is just what this family and their associates do. As Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, put it in a statement, "Kellyanne Conway's self-proclaimed advertisement for the Ivanka Trump fashion line demonstrates again what anyone with common sense already knew: President Trump and the Trump administration will use the government apparatus to advance the interests of the family businesses."

White House leans into Trump Inc.

2/9/2017
Politico: White House leans into Trump Inc. by Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Ben White - “Anyone harboring illusions that there was some separation between the Trump administration and the Trump family businesses has had their fantasy shattered,” Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement.

The Anti-Trump Resistance: Lawyers Lead the Fight Against the White House

2/9/2017
Newsweek: The Anti-Trump Resistance: Lawyers Lead the Fight Against the White House by Matthew Cooper - Allison Zieve, who heads the litigation group at Public Citizen, has been astounded by what she jokes is the “wackiness” of the Trump rule-making so far, noting that the administration has ways to scale back regulation that are not so vulnerable to legal challenge. She adds that all of the Trump efforts to reverse years of safety, environmental and other litigation can be head spinning at times. “We’re feeling a little overwhelmed every day,” she says.

Is Trump using the Oval Office to try to enrich his family?

2/9/2017
San Francisco Chronicle: Is Trump using the Oval Office to try to enrich his family? by Joe Garofoli - “This reflects what seems to be the entire driving mission of the Trump family: to pursue their business efforts, not their public service,” said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for the watchdog Public Citizen organization who helped draft the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act” signed by President George W. Bush and enacted in 2007.

Supreme Court’s Nursing Home Arbitration Case Could Have Wider Implications

2/9/2017
Bloomberg: Supreme Court’s Nursing Home Arbitration Case Could Have Wider Implications by Matthew Loughran - The brief by the public advocacy group Public Citizen agreed with the AARP contention and asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to overturn the state court’s decision because it was based on state law concepts of contract formation.

Trump attempt to rein in drug prices may have limited success

2/8/2017
The CT Mirror: Trump attempt to rein in drug prices may have limited success by Ana Radelat - Sidney Wolfe, founder of Public Citizen Health Research Group, co-authored a study that determined the federal government could save between $15.2 and $16 billion a year if it had the authority to put out bids for Medicare-paid drugs as it does in the Medicaid and veteran’s health programs.

Donald Trump’s Two-For-One Order On Regulations Faces Major Legal Challenge

2/8/2017
The Huffington Post: Donald Trump’s Two-For-One Order On Regulations Faces Major Legal Challenge by Alexander C. Kaufman - The environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council cosigned the suit with the progressive consumer watchdog Public Citizen and the Communications Workers of America, the country’s largest union for media and telecoms workers.

Groups sue to block Trump’s order on government regulations

2/8/2017
Associated Press: Groups sue to block Trump’s order on government regulations by Kevin Freking - The organizations filing the lawsuit are Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, the Communications Workers of America and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Trump’s Deregulation Plan Called ‘Arbitrary’ in Latest Suit

2/8/2017
Bloomberg: Trump’s Deregulation Plan Called ‘Arbitrary’ in Latest Suit by Andrew Harris - “The order requires new rules to have a net cost of $0 this fiscal year, without taking into account the value of the benefits of public protections,” provided by existing rules that will be repealed, Washington-based Public Citizen said in a statement.

New stock questions plague HHS nominee Tom Price as confirmation vote nears

2/8/2017
USA Today: New stock questions plague HHS nominee Tom Price as confirmation vote nears by Jayne O’Donnell - "Before the Senate rushes to confirm a nominee for the president’s cabinet, the public deserves to know whether they’re guilty of insider trading," said the letter signed by groups including the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Public Citizen. "Mr. Price was a sitting Member of Congress actively working to pass health policy changes — to accept special stock offers from a health care company in that position was not ethical and not appropriate.”

Trump blasts retailer Nordstrom, raising new concern on business ties

2/8/2017
Reuters: Trump blasts retailer Nordstrom, raising new concern on business ties by Nandita Bose and Timothy Gardner - "President Trump said he is going to have nothing to do with his family businesses," said Robert Weissman, president of liberal watchdog group Public Citizen. "His reaction to developments with his daughter's business line suggests that claim is untrue."

Trump Assails Nordstrom for ‘Unfairly’ Dropping His Daughter Ivanka’s Line

2/8/2017
The New York Times: Trump Assails Nordstrom for ‘Unfairly’ Dropping His Daughter Ivanka’s Line by Richard Pérez-Peña and Rachel Abrams - Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a group that promotes ethics in government, said Mr. Trump’s swipe at Nordstrom was not a major issue in itself. But Mr. Weissman said it demonstrates that as president, Mr. Trump continues to have multiple conflicts of interest with his own and his family’s business interests. Mr. Trump refuses to sell his assets or put them into a blind trust, but he has said that he has ceded operation of his businesses to his adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

Under-the-radar change to congressional ethics watchdog may weaken it

2/8/2017
The Washington Post: Under-the-radar change to congressional ethics watchdog may weaken it by Elise Viebeck - Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, said the appearance of partisanship within the OCE would threaten its credibility. “How people view an ethics body like this matters,” she said.

Trump blasts retailer Nordstrom, raising new concern on business ties

2/8/2017
Reuters: Trump blasts retailer Nordstrom, raising new concern on business ties by Will Dunham and Richard Cowan - "President Trump said he is going to have nothing to do with his family businesses," said Robert Weissman, president of liberal watchdog group Public Citizen. "His reaction to developments with his daughter's business line suggests that claim is untrue."

Is Trump's Executive Order Illegal? Groups Sue Administration Over 'Two-For-One' Regulation Action

2/8/2017
International Business Times: Is Trump's Executive Order Illegal? Groups Sue Administration Over 'Two-For-One' Regulation Action by Lydia O’Neal - “No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump executive order approach — unless their only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,” Robert Weissman, who heads Public Citizen, said in a press release announcing the legal action.

Green groups file sweeping lawsuit accusing Trump of usurping Congress’s powers on regulations

2/8/2017
The Washington Post: Green groups file sweeping lawsuit accusing Trump of usurping Congress’s powers on regulations by Chris Mooney - “The Executive Order exceeds the President’s authority under the Constitution, usurps Congress’s Article I legislative authority, and violates the President’s obligation to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’” says the lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America.

HHS Pick Price Made ‘Brazen’ Stock Trades While His Committee Was Under Scrutiny

2/7/2017
Kaiser Health News: HHS Pick Price Made ‘Brazen’ Stock Trades While His Committee Was Under Scrutiny by Marisa Taylor and Christina Jewett - Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen, described Price’s volume of stock trades during the SEC inquiry as “brazen,” given the congressman’s access to nonpublic information affecting the companies’ fortunes.

Group Says Texas Electric Grid Would Survive Loss Of Two Coal Plants

2/7/2017
Houston Public Media: Group Says Texas Electric Grid Would Survive Loss Of Two Coal Plants by Travis Bubenik - “If these big coal plants do retire, it’s not going to be a whole lot of the energy we rely upon,” says Public Citizen’s Texas Director Tom Smith. “But there are significant additional resources that will come in and fill the hole in the energy in East Texas."

Trump Has One Big Idea to Fix America’s Trade Deals. It’s Not Very Good

2/7/2017
Slate: Trump Has One Big Idea to Fix America’s Trade Deals. It’s Not Very Good by Jordan Weissman - “Tactically, it is true” that we'd have more leverage, Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, told me. As an illustration, she explained that during the TPP negotiations small countries were able to team up and present a united front to resist some of the U.S.'s most extreme demands about pharmaceutical regulations.

Trump’s education nominee and her family members are major donors to the senators who will vote on her confirmation

2/7/2017
Washington Post: Trump’s education nominee and her family members are major donors to the senators who will vote on her confirmation by Emma Brown - “She’s acknowledged that her family gives, and gives a lot, because it’s aiming to buy influence,” said Robert Weissman of Public Citizen, who said the scale of the DeVos family’s political donations is unusual for a prospective Cabinet member. “Against that backdrop, how are the senators supposed to evaluate her nomination in an unbiased way? They can’t.”

White House Says Medicare Should Leverage Its Buying Power To Pull Down Drug Prices

2/7/2017
NPR: White House Says Medicare Should Leverage Its Buying Power To Pull Down Drug Prices by Alison Kodjak - A 2015 study jointly published by Carleton University and the public advocacy group Public Citizen showed that Medicare pays, on average, 73 percent more than Medicaid pays for brand-name drugs, and 80 percent more than the VA pays.

Trump vowed to 'drain the swamp.' Now, he could benefit by secret special-interest cash

2/6/2017
NJ.com: Trump vowed to 'drain the swamp.' Now, he could benefit by secret special-interest cash by Jonathan Salant - "It's a very worrisome trend," said Craig Holman, who lobbies on campaign finance issues for Public Citizen, a Washington-based advocacy group. "This is a more effective way of buying influence. This new nonprofit is directly tied to the president."

GOP-Led SEC Considers Easing Pay-Gap Disclosure Rule of Dodd-Frank

2/6/2017
Wall Street Journal: GOP-Led SEC Considers Easing Pay-Gap Disclosure Rule of Dodd-Frank by Andrew Ackerman - “Industry has fought it tooth and nail because the contrast between worker pay and CEO pay is stark,” said Lisa Gilbert, a director of Public Citizen, a proponent of the pay rule.

Lobbyists, Corporate Clients Open Wallets for Trump

2/6/2017
Roll Call: Lobbyists, Corporate Clients Open Wallets for Trump by Kate Ackley - “It’s not rocket science to understand that when somebody becomes president, or is likely to become president, it makes sense to give and then reap the benefits of that giving later on,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of the liberal Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Trump regulation plan could cripple safety protections, experts say

2/4/2017
Charleston Gazette Mail: Trump regulation plan could cripple safety protections, experts say by Ken Ward Jr. - The consumer group Public Citizen issued a statement calling the Trump plan “radical and unworkable,” and said it would “result in immediate and lasting damage to our government’s ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination.”

Trump wants an extra 'F' in NAFTA, and Texans fear that could be foul for the state

2/3/2017
Dallas News: Trump wants an extra 'F' in NAFTA, and Texans fear that could be foul for the state by Todd J. Gillman - "The Trump administration can rename NAFTA the North American Free and Most Fairest of Them All Trade Agreement," said Lori Wallach, director of the left-leaning group Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

Trump may be skirting transparency law on advisory boards

2/2/2017
Politico: Trump may be skirting transparency law on advisory boards by Josh Gerstein - "Whether it's hastily drafted executive orders put together in the dead of night and riddled with errors and not consulting the pertinent government agencies or putting together other proposals that are shocking to many Americans, nothing that has been done so far has been inclusive, so it's not a surprise his small working groups of CEOs would be just the same," said Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen.

Trump vows to overturn ban on political activity by churches

2/2/2017
USA Today: Trump vows to overturn ban on political activity by churches by Gregory Korte - “This is a way to convert religious organizations, charities and educational groups into dark money organizations,” said Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning group Public Citizen.

Public Citizen Texas hires new director

2/2/2017
Houston Chronicle: Public Citizen Texas hires new director by Nicole Cobler - The executive director of Air Alliance Houston will take over as director of Austin-based activist group Public Citizen Texas, taking the place of veteran ethics and consumer lobbyist Tom "Smitty" Smith.

Tillerson’s Vow to Keep Away From Exxon Runs Into a World of Oil

2/2/2017
Bloomberg Politics: Tillerson’s Vow to Keep Away From Exxon Runs Into a World of Oil by Nick Wadhams - “The proportion of Tillerson’s job that would have the appearance of conflict is just enormous,” said David Arkush, the managing director for Public Citizen’s climate program. “If someone has to recuse himself from that many matters, he has no business being in that role.”

Protesters Respond to Trump's Supreme Court Pick

2/1/2017
The Atlantic: Protesters Respond to Trump's Supreme Court Pick by Jeremy Venook - Glenn Simpson, whose shirt read “This Machine Kills Fascists” in homage to the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, described protesting as “a lifelong pursuit.” An online-advocacy and development manager at the consumer-rights group Public Citizen, he expressed concerns over Trump’s belief that “his main enemy is the press as opposed to traditional political opponents or ideas.

Representatives Ryan, Kaptur, Jones and Gabbard Call to Reinstate Key Protections to Rein in Wall Street

2/1/2017
PublicNow: Representatives Ryan, Kaptur, Jones and Gabbard Call to Reinstate Key Protections to Rein in Wall Street by Tim Ryan - 'We welcome Rep. Kaptur's common sense appeal that Wall Street return to prudent banking. With bipartisan support, the Glass-Steagall separation from government-backed money and speculation will inevitably be restored. The only question is how soon. Public Citizen is committed to shrinking time,' Bart Naylor, Public Citizen.

Donald Trump's early trade moves favor Fiat Chrysler

2/1/2017
CNBC: Donald Trump's early trade moves favor Fiat Chrysler by Mack Hogan - Tyson Slocum, director of the Public Citizen's Energy Program (an advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader), said the Fiat software does not appear to be designed to fool lab testers, as in the VW case.

Judge dismisses fraudulent lawsuit, orders disclosure of entity that filed it

2/1/2017
Providence Journal: Judge dismisses fraudulent lawsuit, orders disclosure of entity that filed it by Mulvaney - Paul A. Levy, a lawyer for Public Citizen, said the phony lawsuit is one of a few dozen nationwide that aim to have critical reviews or information stricken from being easily searched on the web. His suspicion was that the bogus action is the work of a "brand protection" company, which gets $6,000 per month to manage the debt resolution company's reputation.

Feds Take Backseat To Automakers On Anti-Collision Systems, Won't Set Safety Standards

2/1/2017
Forbes: Feds Take Backseat To Automakers On Anti-Collision Systems, Won't Set Safety Standards by Christopher Jensen - But that voluntary system lacks the strict, federal controls that the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen and Consumer Watchdog wanted when they filed the petition.

Speed Up Drug Approvals? FDA Already Did

2/1/2017
NBC News: Speed Up Drug Approvals? FDA Already Did by Maggie Fox - "President Donald Trump's preposterous promise to pharmaceutical company CEOs to slash U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations by 75 to 80 percent would, if fulfilled, fundamentally destroy the ability of the agency to protect patients and consumers from unsafe or ineffective medications and medical devices, hazardous foods and dietary supplements, and dangerous tobacco products, among other things," said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group.